From simple plain text messages for communication to one of the most preferred channels for marketing.
With businesses large and small using HTML emails as a primary marketing tool and technological advancements, emails have evolved into highly personalized messages in real-time with visually appealing and engaging rich media elements.
There are around 4.1 billion email users worldwide and the majority of them just skim through the emails that they receive in their inbox. Most email marketers are still trying to figure out ways to engage their subscribers and STAND OUT in their inbox.
Take a look at the following emails:
Image Source: Really Good Emails
Here, one is a plain text email and the other one is an HTML email. While the plain text email works for B2B conversations, you will rarely receive such an email from a business that uses email as a tool to market and promote their products and services. The HTML email works well in highlighting the key information and conveying the message more efficiently, using elements such as colored fonts, links, CTAs, icons, and images.
HTML emails that contain visual content in the form of static images, animated GIFs, cinemagraph and video can add life to your emails and make them more engaging. Brands experiment with various forms of visual content to garner more eyeballs and improve sales with their emails.
Here are some tips and best practices to use rich media in your emails with examples from brands that use them effectively in their email campaigns to boost engagement.
Use attractive static images to support the message
Static images can grab the readers’ attention more than plain text alone. Using attractive images that support the content will help you convey the message more effectively and get users to read and engage with your emails.
You can add images into your emails either to illustrate something or just to add to the email’s aesthetics. But make sure you give a proper alternative text to all the images since certain email clients block the display of images and some may not download the images at all. Also, maintain the ideal text-to-image ratio of 80:20 and avoid conveying the message using just images.
Take a look at this email from Zillow:
Image Source: Really Good Emails
With an attractive hero image that supports the content, the email looks lively and the message is evident from the headline and the image itself. When the reader skims through the email, they only focus on the headline, the images, and the CTA, and the text is skipped.
Include animated GIFs to add life to your email
GIF animation in emails creates an illusion of motion and adds life to the email, which is not possible using static images. Using GIFs, you can illustrate complex concepts in a simplified way, in a limited space. They can also be used to enhance the look and feel of the email.
While you use animated GIFs in your emails, make sure you create them in a way that all important information is shown in the first frame itself. Some email clients and devices fail to render GIFs and display just the first frame of the animation. Hence, make sure the message is conveyed even if the GIF does not play.
Here are a few examples of brands that are using GIF animation effectively in their emails.
The brand Taylor Stitch uses GIF in the hero image to showcase the versatile uses of its products. Using GIF animation, the brand shows four different looks in the space of a single image.
Headspace use GIFs in their email to illustrate their message to have a new year resolution for a calmer and more relaxed year. The GIF enhances the value of the message and entices the users to click through the CTA.
Cinemagraphs are a blend of images and videos that create a more lifelike visual. Typically, it is a simple GIF file with a few elements slightly moving. Using cinemagraphs in emails lets you represent images in a more realistic and attractive way, thereby increasing engagement.
Emails with cinemagraph can become bulky and cause renderability issues. Most email clients fail to render cinemagraph and hence you must avoid using it to describe the key message and if you do, include a proper description in the form of alt-text. Use it to simply attract your subscribers and get them to read your emails.
Here are a few winning examples of emails using cinemagraph.
PizzaExpress uses cinemagraph in this email to give a precise experience of delicious, steaming pizzas to the viewers. This definitely grabs attention and keeps the viewer engaged.
The brand Ace Hotel uses a cinemagraph in the hero image, which makes it stand out from the rest of the emails in the inbox. Here, it is used to enhance the overall look of the email and make it interesting.
Image Source: Really Good Emails
The highlight of this email from SquareSpace is the enthralling imagery in the form of a cinemagraph. The cinemagraph intensifies the overall theme and adds liveliness to the email.
Consumers prefer video over written content. Statistics show that video, when combined with email, can boost click-through rates and conversions by 200-300%. Video in email can be used to convey the brand story, build brand image, and engage and entertain users.
You can either embed a video into the email or add an image and link it to a video hosted online. Majority of email clients do not render videos and take longer loading times. It is therefore recommended to use a GIF or cinemagraph with a play button that would redirect the viewers to the hosting site.
Check out this email from Juno.
Image Source: Really Good Emails
Here, the brand uses video to show their journey of three years. An attractive thumbnail image and a play button on it entice the subscribers to click on it. When there is a video at the top of the email, the viewers tend to click on it without reading the text in the remaining email.
In a nutshell…
With millions of emails being sent and received every day, it is important for your business to create and send attention-grabbing emails that stand out in the subscribers’ inbox and engage them. To achieve this, include rich media in your HTML emails and use them efficiently, keeping the limitations and their workarounds in mind.
Guest author: Kevin George is the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks – one of the fastest growing Email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free master email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’.
But I am not talking about those fleeting moments of happiness that we all have but a foundation and sense of well being that transcends momentary joy.
We know when we feel those joyful moments.
A completed task.
Experiencing a beautiful sunrise.
A goal achieved.
Having your work affirmed.
A time spent with friends connecting and laughing.
But joy can be fleeting.
But for many once that fleeting moment is past, familiar feelings of dread show up.
Reality creeps in.
Often it turns up as we awake. In darkness.
Fears both real and imagined knock on our front door. Debilitating and demotivating.
Fears about money, relationships and life that challenge our security.
George Harrison sums up what many of us have felt as we move through life in those dark moments in his song “Beware of Darkness”
“Watch out now, take care.
Beware of the thoughts that linger.
Winding up inside your head.
The hopelessness around you.
In the dead of night”
But how do reduce those dark thoughts that linger that show up just before dawn on awakening?
Is it a series of life habits?
What we all need and crave is to create a life that takes joyful moments and stitches it together into a life of fulfilment.
Building a life that flourishes despite the pain and sorrow that inevitably appear. That sustains us with an inner sense of well being. A foundation so strong that it will support us when times get tough.
How do you achieve that?
It is an ecosystem and process that becomes a series of habits.
It is a big project and it is the work of a lifetime.
In his investigations of “optimal experience” he revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life.
Your mission in life is to find what type of activity provides and nourishes deep engagement.
Despite modern society selling us the lie that “more stuff” means more happiness the truth lies somewhere else.
Connectedness and community are also at the core of true happiness.
In 1938 at Harvard College they tracked the lives of 724 men. And every year they asked about their work, home lives and their health.
It is the world’s longest study in happiness.
And the clearest message that we get from this 75-year research is this:
“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier“.
Quality connections are by far the biggest contributor to a state of well being.
The three big takeaways from the study?
Loneliness kills, quality relationships matter and they protect our brains and bodies.
The hedonism of modern society is all about focusing on you. Your pleasure.
The place where we need to arrive at and sustain is one where life has meaning beyond yourself. Contributing to making the world a better place. Making a difference.
The Russian novelist, Vladimir Nabokov, talks about life being a “crack of light between two pools of darkness” – the darkness before we were born, and the darkness after we die”.
But the darkness that sits in almost everyone’s soul is the fear of death. The second pool.
And it’s this sense of dread can tear at the fabric of well being. Especially when our security is threatened. That can happen we experience loss. And it will.
“Death does itch. It itches all the time” – Yalom.
So how do we transcend our mortality?
How do we stare it in the face and laugh at its demons.
Irvin Yalom’s is professor emeritus of psychiatry at Stanford University, has a theory that our only hope of immortality lies in “our ability to generate feelings and memories in those we encounter every day”
He calls it the ripple effect. Here are two ways he sees it operating.
Our children can ripple us into the future. They offer us a promise of living beyond our normal life span. Our contribution for the future.
The friends we meet and interact with leave a ripple that transcends time as we change their lives by what we share.
But what we create also leaves a ripple effect.
And the digital world and the World Wide Web allow us to ripple further and faster.
Ideas are one thing but sharing your creation to the waiting world is where the magic starts, happens and continues.
The reality in this digital age is that your published ideas and creations online will exist until the Internet is disconnected and/or the electricity is switched off.
But I am not talking about sharing cat videos. It is meaningful creations that sit in the place of “Deep Work”. It is producing content of consequence.
It is the concept that we bring meaning to our lives by knowing you are making a difference that transcends our mortality.
I create, I publish, I flourish.
Achievement sounds like you have arrived. That your work is done.
I would prefer the variation…”achieving”.
Sustainable “Well Being” should be a continuum that doesn’t stop, that flows into the future. Continuing a life journey that continues to produce and gives to humanity.
We need to keep giving our genius to the world. It should be about continuing to create, publishing and sharing your creation.
But there is another benefit that achieving in even small ways that is motivating and produces a feeling and a glow of success.
It doesn’t have to be large. You do not have to appear on television or be feted by the paparazzi.
It is the small pats on the back online, the affirmation that what you has shared matters. Moments of “micro validations”.
The social web has provided those moments when people interact online and validate your revelations.
These are the ubiquitous “likes”, affirming comments and even the growth of social network followers.
These small endorsements and recognition can be addictive but they indeed affirming.
That is what has made the social web so compelling and even sometimes obsessive.
The challenge here is that many people are afraid to be judged so they don’t share their gifts. They don’t think they are good enough.
They are unwilling to be vulnerable. But there is power in vulnerability.
It is raw, real and authentic and people are attracted to that.
What about you?
Are you able to take those moments of joy and glue them together to a create a flourishing life. To experience well being.
You can never have enough of anything related to writing as a freelance writer. This is exactly what the Purdue Writing Lab is all about. It’s the hub for everything related to writing.
In this awesome resource, you’ll find a series of informational articles and books on the correct usage of the English language. It’ll help you greatly to update your know-how of writing, and how to do it effortlessly.
Copywriting is a specialty most freelance writers want to delve into. Not only is it lucrative, it’s also compelling and revealing. No doubt about it, if you’re damn good at copywriting, you become highly sought after by clients.
With this Copywriting guide by the Copyblogger team, you’ll be able to put a foot ahead of other writers in the business.
This awesome web resource by Mignon Fogarty is your “go-to” website which contains resources and materials on the correct use of grammar. One amazing feature of this resource is that the founder uses humor and everyday examples to drive home her points.
It’s super resourceful and I recommend that you check it out regularly due to its frequent updates.
Conversion optimization tools are estimated to have an average ROI of 223%.
And that is totally expected as they’re largely responsible for most conversions and revenue.
However, CRO tools are more expensive than many other marketing tools, too (as you’ll soon see in this article). And there are so many of them out there.
But at the end of the day, it’s not using these tools that matters but what they do for your business. And what they do largely depends on how you utilize them. In this post, I’ll show you strategies to get the best out of your conversion optimization tools.
1. Interpret data to make it relevant to growth
We’ve all been there; staring at analytics and a bunch of graphs and numbers, trying to make sense of all that’s on your screen. You know, like wondering why this heatmap – for example – is showing the budget field getting way more click-throughs than the buy (or submit) button on a page on my site…
But of course, it could simply be because more people are seeing the budget options and realizing it’s not a fit for them.
60% of marketers analyze customer journeys to improve conversions. But how do we ensure we’re rightly interpreting the insights and data provided by CRO tools?
It can boggle the mind. The conversion tools we all know like Hotjar, Mailchimp, Kissmetrics, and Google Analytics tell you how conversions are and aren’t happening on your site and within your business – which is super helpful of course. But what they won’t do is interpret the data they provide; that’s your part of the job.
Andrew Stephen, Associate Dean at the University of Oxford, agrees in a Forbes article that marketers’ interpretation of data is not always accurate: “…marketers’ interpretations of patterns found in data by machine learning and AI analytics systems are still subject to bias and could mislead.”
How do you go from data acquisition to sound data interpretation? These three tips will help:
Tip #1: Narrow down to actual conversion metrics
Pinpointing actual conversion metrics and KPIs is crucial to helping your mind focus on the optimal use of conversion tools. Or as Study.com says it: “There are two issues with interpreting the data. [The number one thing is] you need to focus on what you are looking for.”
What metrics do you refer to as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for conversions in your business? Free trial sign-ups? Orders completed? Leads generated? Call requests? Average order value? You want to pay attention to key KPIs like these to use conversion tools optimally.
For example, the founders at Grow and Convert consider leads generated from their blog posts as their primary conversion metric, so they narrow down to that:
Narrowing down your conversion optimization metrics helps better conversions as you’re able to focus on them squarely, pouring all your resources on them.
In an AMA on Online Geniuses – an online community for marketers – Oli Gardner was asked the following question: Which business metrics do you think Unbounce performs best at?
Oli’s answer: “Hmm. We’re making great progress at reducing churn (we have a task force focused specifically on that this year)… Our NPS score for people who have any contact with our customer success team is incredible (85), so that’s definitely something we try to leverage as much as possible…”
The Unbounce team – at the time of this AMA – was focusing on reducing churn. They even had a task force for it. That’s pretty much where all their conversion optimization efforts were going. You can imagine the impact of an axe that’s repeatedly hitting one spot on a tree, as opposed to hitting different spots on the tree.
Does this mean other non-conversion related metrics – page visits, traffic sources, bounce rates, time on page, etc. – aren’t important anymore? Well, not exactly. You still want to compare metrics like page visits to conversion numbers, traffic sources vs. conversions, time on page vs. actual conversion rates, mobile/desktop users vs. conversions, and so on.
So yes, metrics unrelated to actual conversions are still important when using conversion optimization tools. But you want to focus on actual conversion metrics to use conversion tools optimally.
“Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea/concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views (prejudices) one would like to be true.”
That a tool shows what you’ve been desiring to see doesn’t mean it’s valid. You can relate, right? That moment when you’re seeing a 70% lift in conversions and goose gumps start getting the best of you. The data may not be entirely accurate, you should do some further research.
The famous two-tailed tests can come in handy here; where you’re not just looking at the interpretation of data in just one direction.
For example, the awesome team at SumAll shared how they thought a conversion optimization tool was right when it showed that their first homepage variation had an 18.1% conversions over the second one.
But because the team is highly data-oriented, they decided to confirm this data. So they ran another test – completing a two-tailed test. And voila, they found their conversions were only 10-15% of what the tool was showing! That’s not a very pleasant place for any marketer to be. In the team’s own words, “it’s as if the money you thought you’d been earning at your job turned out to be counterfeit, or only worth 10-15% of it’s promised value.”
Thus, you want to run two-tailed tests to filter out any false positives that CRO tools (or any other marketing tool for that matter) could be showing you.
Another brilliant tactic – mostly as a second option – to avoid data misinterpretation is to run your thoughts by your fellow or even more experienced marketers on the team. This way, you’re not considering only one possibility of the effect of data, but two.
Avoid always being ready to believe data. It’s crazy, but it happens to the best of us. But it also shouldn’t be what happens all the time. How do you combat being a victim of confirmation bias? Get other experts’ perspectives – which leads to my next point.
Tip #3: Get other experts’ perspectives
To avoid confirmation biases, getting other experts’ perspectives is a brilliant solution. Odds are high you aren’t the only expert in your team.
Leverage the expertise of other team members and you’ll get some varied points of view on the data you’re staring at. There’s almost always an angle you’re not seeing that someone else might see, which explains why teams outperform individual decision-makers 66% of the time.
Keep in mind that marketing decisions are usually risky. You’re making decisions as a marketer that affect how your entire organization makes money. Implementing change based solely on your interpretation of data could have nasty repercussions; it’s better a team takes the heat or the glory than just you.
Caitlin Burgess, Senior Content Marketing Manager at TopRank Marketing, shares how important multiple perspectives are for marketing success:
“If there’s anything that I’ve learned in my time at TopRank Marketing, it’s that I can’t achieve marketing awesomeness on my own. I need multiple perspectives.”
Rather than assuming, try telling a colleague something as simple as, “Most people who spend up to one minute on our homepage now convert into trial users. Could that be because we changed the CTA button color?”
The colleague might agree with your data interpretation, cool. If she doesn’t, even better – she adds to the pot of possibilities of why homepage visitors now convert better. Maybe it’s a change in your copy, image, or trial period. In any case, since she doesn’t agree with your interpretation of data, you’ve gained new insight from having shared your thoughts with a colleague. You have another way to interpret your data.
Try this with two or more other team members and you might just end up with a wealth of quality data interpretations. Of course, you might come across one or two crappy ideas, but that’s a small price to pay for other quality ones you get. In the end, getting other experts’ perspectives on your data fosters better decision making.
Hold on a second: Some well-known experts shared what their favorite CRO tools are with me. Check it out in the section just before the conclusion. Thank me later.
Another major factor to consider when using conversion optimization tools is the cost involved versus the inherent potential.
2. The cost of the tool vs. its potential
Of all marketing tools, conversion tools are often especially expensive. Yet, only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. While they are invaluable, conversion optimization tools can do damage to scaling if they are more expensive than the results they bring.
For example, Kissmetrics charges at least $500/mo…
While their pricing details aren’t publicly available, Optimizely is estimated to cost about $36,000/yr to $200,000 – according to Convert.
These are pretty expensive tools, so you want to ensure you’re not wasting money.
Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios shared with me how Hotjar helped him figure out the best position to place testimonials on a page on his site.
“Two reports in Hotjar answered the testimonial placement question. The first was the click heat map that showed the clicks on the carousel (which are, of course, non-pageview interactions). It showed that 5.7% of visitors were clicking. Not horrible. [But] if I remove the carousel and stack them instead, 4.5x as many visitors will see the second testimonial. That’s a bit of analysis that you can’t do in Google Analytics without a lot of fancy event tracking, which is a headache…”
This way, Andy is getting tangible results from Hotjar and isn’t just throwing money at the tool – just for the sake of it. Every tool should pay for its cost and provide some crucial benefits. Or at least, before spending money on a tool, check your other tools to see if there are any overlapping functions.
Also, ask questions that determine whether or not a tool is really useful or it’s just nice on paper. There are new tools popping up every day, and it can be tempting to drop money you don’t have based on great marketing promises.
3. The value of converted visitors
Regardless of how powerful or expensive your conversion optimization tools are, they’re useless if the customers they bring in are not your target customers (AKA people who will remain on your list but almost never convert into paying customers since your product isn’t for them).
This might seem pretty basic, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses are careless about the value of people converting on their site. They just want people to subscribe, and that’s it. So, on their forms, you see things like “sign up for our free trial” “get our latest tips” and so on. Messaging like this doesn’t exactly speak to the people you’re targeting. And so, every Tom, Joe, and Mary will be signing up.
Instead, use copy that speaks to your target audience. Shopify, for instance, uses the forms and CTAs on their blog to ensure people signing up are entrepreneurs – that’s their target audience:
Shopify creates a lot of content on content marketing, SEO, how to get traffic, and the like. These are topics that attract a whole lot of people who aren’t even Shopify’s target audience – entrepreneurs. With all the thousands and millions of monthly visitors they get, a good way Shopify ensures its conversion tools are only bringing in entrepreneurs into its database is by targeting entrepreneurs in their conversion efforts.
Here’s the downside of using conversion tools without targeted messaging: not only will conversions suffer as a result of weak copy, but when conversions do happen, odds are high you’ll get the wrong people signing up – since you’ve communicated a wrong/weak/untargeted message on your opt-in forms and sign-up pages. And because they’re not your ideal customers, they remain in your database and never become customers – while you still pay the cost of acquiring them as customers.
It’s not enough to use conversion tools to get sign-ups, you want to ensure your tools are getting the right sign-ups.
Bonus: The 5 CRO Tools Vetted by Pro Marketers
I reached out to veteran marketers, asking them to share their favorite conversion optimization tools and why they’ve chosen them. Get the report right here.
Conversion tools are powerful, but they’re nothing without expert marketers manning them to bring the best out of them. When marketing tools meet experts, an explosion usually happens. The strategies above can equip you to use conversion optimization tools optimally. Ensure your data interpretation is on point. If you can, get expert colleagues to look at data before concluding its interpretation.
Also, if your tool isn’t providing any tangible value or is offering a solution that’s offered in another tool, let it go. Finally, work on getting high-quality conversions. Your best conversions are your target customers who sign up today.
Guest author: Victor Ijidola drives leads and sales for B2B and B2C brands via content marketing and copywriting. He’s available for hire and has been featured on sites like The Next Web, Entrepreneur, Kissmetrics and many more. Find him at Premium Content Shop.
Understanding how your SEO efforts are actually working requires studying the data created by the traffic you receive after implementing new tactics.
No longer is simply looking at keyword ranking enough to assess the effectiveness of your work. To properly measure the return on investment earned by your SEO practices there are now a wide variety of reports that you need to study.
In this article, we’ll go over the ten most important SEO metrics you should consider when putting together reports that will evaluate your SEO efforts.
#1. Number of Clicks
Starting from the Search Console, you can access a report that will tell you the number of organic clicks your site has received as well as which search queries generated those clicks. You can compare the number of clicks received from month to month allowing you to determine which search queries are responsible for the most clicks. This report will also allow you to pinpoint which landing pages are attracting the most clicks and what page elements are driving those clicks.
To get to this report, go to “Search Traffic” on the Search Console and click on “Search Analytics.” You can also filter the results by Search Type allowing you to differentiate between image and text searches.
#2. Goal Completion
Understanding that your goals are successfully completed will play a large role in assessing the value of your SEO campaign. It’s possible to construct a report that allows you to determine your goal values, the goal conversion rates and the number of goal completions. By filtering the results to report solely on organic traffic you have the ability to calculate your return on investment derived from your unpaid SEO efforts.
In Google Analytics, check under the “Conversions” tab for the “Goals” and “Overview” area. If you “Add Segment” and choose “Organic Traffic” from the list, you’ll be able to refine the report to bypass any paid or inorganic searches.
#3. Bounce Rate
If someone visits a single page on your website and then leaves, Google Analytics would report a 100% bounce rate or one bounce, depending on the type of report you’re viewing. Depending on what you’ve designed your website for, a high bounce rate can be either a positive or negative metric. A high bounce rate could indicate that the information on your site isn’t what your users are looking for which causes them to leave. On the other hand, a search query may lead a user directly to a page on your site that immediately answers their needs making the necessity of visiting more pages irrelevant.
To view the bounce rate of your main landing pages, go to “Behavior,” “Site Content” and “Landing Pages.” If you want to view organic traffic only, make sure to filter for that.
#4. Exit Pages
Understanding from which pages visitors are leaving your website can give you further insight into the information provided by those pages. What is it about the highest ranked exit pages that are causing your visitors to continue on elsewhere? Is that the desired effect or do you need these pages to perform better in keeping the user engaged? By testing various configurations of these pages, you may be able to better achieve your desired result.
For the exit page report, go to “Behavior,” “Site Content” and “Exit Pages.”
#5. Keyword Ranking
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, keyword ranking is no longer the only metric you need to track to understand the viability of your SEO efforts. However, it still plays a very important role in getting traffic to your website. By understanding which keywords are driving the most traffic to the target site, you can increase your chances of reaching the top of the search engine results page (SERP) without having to rely on paid searches or other types of paid marketing.
By using the “Queries” report in the Search Console you’ll be able to see which keywords your site is ranking for, the number of impressions they receive, the click through rate and their Google rankings.
#6. Mobile Usability
Google has announced repeatedly that websites that are slow or do not work well for smartphone or tablet users will be ranked lower on the SERPs. Understanding where mobile users are having trouble navigating your site can allow you to reorganize and adjust appropriately.
Access the mobile usability report by going to “Search Traffic,” in the Search Console and selecting “Mobile Usability.”
#7. Lifetime Value
Accessing the lifetime value report allows you to assess the value of a unique user compared to your business goals. This is a relatively new report offered by Google Analytics which can predict the potential revenue of a user arriving on your site due to various acquisition efforts on your behalf. The metrics per user you can choose from include Appviews, Goal Completions, Pageviews, Revenue, Session Duration, Sessions, Tenure and Transactions.
To access this data, click “Audience” and Lifetime Value.”
#8. Crawl Errors
If Google isn’t able to successfully crawl your website, your chances of appearing on the SERPs are slim to none. By understanding which pages on your site are preventing the Google bots from crawling your site, you’ll be able to repair them and get them back to proper functioning. By keeping an eye on the crawl error report you’ll be able to correct problems before they seriously affect your page rankings.
Access the Crawl Error report by clicking “Crawl” and “Crawl Error” on the Search Console.
#9. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
AMP pages have been around for a couple of years now and should already play a role in your website design to create fast loading web pages for mobile users. Google’s rollout of AMP has made it much easier for website developers to increase the speed and improve the user experience of mobile users by providing an easy-to-use framework for creating mobile pages.
To view the pages of your site that are having AMP issues, click “Search Appearance” and “Accelerated Mobile Pages” in the Search Console.
#10. Inbound Link Quality
Backlinking has always played a large role in SEO, but as time has progressed the quality of those links has become much more important than just the quantity. Judging the quality of your inbound links will allow you to assess your off page SEO efforts and come up with more appropriate link building campaigns to increase your traffic.
To access the inbound link report, click on “Traffic Sources,” “Sources” and “Referral” in Google Analytics.
Now, you are ready to start measuring the most important metrics of 2018!
There are no two ways about it; modern business events have been transformed and arguably revolutionized by digital technology.
In addition to helping businesses and organizations host events designed to meet specific requirements, the prevalence of mobile internet and smartphones facilitates the collection of valuable real-time data that can be used to inform everything from future events to key business decisions. From smooth event check-ins to enhanced networking and seamless content sharing opportunities, the benefits of event technology are visible at every level.
Although you might assume that technology impedes face-to-face communications, it actually creates new opportunities to connect with others and enhances those connections when they are formed.
With the pressure to create impressive events increasing, I want to examine five event technologies that are making waves in the event management and event marketing industry.
#1. Social media
Valuable channels for businesses and event marketing professionals alike, social media platforms have reshaped the way brands, organizers, clients, and delegates interact at every stage of an event cycle. As a promotional tactic, social media can be used in different ways and for different purposes before, during and after your event.
5 Steps: How To Market An Event In Two Weeks Using Facebook Advertising: Case Study Stafford Raptors - YouTube
Brands choosing to leverage social media are able to bring organizers, speakers, vendors, attendees, and non-attendees together, allowing conversation, debate, information and of course good old fashioned networking to take place. Social media is also the ideal space for building connections and capitalizing on leads in the hours or days after your event has taken place.
The creation of a memorable and well-publicised Twitter hashtag will ensure that the conversation isn’t limited to one platform and people can very easily follow and contribute whenever and however they want. Like all event marketing tactics, getting social media right, means understanding your audience
#2. Wearable tech
Technologies including Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS can be used to understand exactly how attendees experience and interact with events by collecting and measuring key data metrics.
Data gathered by wearable tech is helping event marketers to introduce new levels of personalization and ensure that each attendee receives the information they want and need during the event. After all, this is crucial because you need to know precisely how to successfully capitalize on each interaction with every event attendee.
Fundamentally, event apps encourage attendee engagement and nurture conversation provided they utilize features and contain information your attendees find appealing. Floor plans, agendas, speaker profiles, and live polling should all be considered but you could also integrate your social media presence and broadcast notable snippets shared on your event app across your social platforms.
#4. Digital signage
Digital signage technology has seen enormous developments in recent years, partly thanks to the uptake in social media integration and mobile apps used at events. This technology doesn’t detract from the value of connecting face-to-face. In fact, it revitalizes business events, boosts the memorability factor, and demonstrates that innovation is both exciting and something to strive for.
Different channels, platforms, and digital devices are more compatible than ever before, generating new possibilities to utilize technology to create increasingly personalized event experiences which actively encourage meaningful communication and greater social interactions. One way to utilize the interactivity of digital signage is to integrate a social media wall displaying Facebook posts and Tweets in real-time.
#5. Virtual and augmented reality
Despite the tech struggling to find its place in the marketing ecosphere, virtual and augmented reality has certainly started to find its footing within the events space.
Augmented reality shines when it is used to enrich exhibitions, offer alternative views of real-world environments, and within gamification designed to encourage direct engagement with a service or product.
The Year VR Took Over CES 2017 - YouTube
Virtual reality can also be used in similarly creative ways including encouraging active event participation, amplifying intrigue, and as an interactive educational tool. Additionally, virtual reality can be used by events teams in the planning stages, allowing them to take virtual tours of potential venues and helping to put together a shortlist without first having to go and inspect them in person.
Guest author: Denise Sharpe is Managing Director and founding partner of Outsourced Events, a London based event management company. With over twenty years in the event industry, she has helped run events for global corporates such as Dell, Citrix and renowned UK organisations like the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. You can get in touch with Outsourced Events on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook or check out more of Denise’s insights on their event blog.
It’s no longer news: a quiz is a type of content. Content marketers’ obsession with blogging, which a 2018 research shows 79% of them use, is one reason why you should consider other forms of content. Or if you’re like me and you don’t plan to stop blogging, but wish to shake things up a bit every now and then, a quiz is a type of content you should use.
Apart from adding variety to your content, there’s some data behind why a quiz is a valuable type of content.
A quiz brought Zenni Optical over $1 million in revenue.
Titles for knowledge quizzes:Knowledge powers a better world. And humans are always seeking knowledge. That’s why marketers create blogs in the first place. Let your quiz title tell participants they’ll learn without the pressure of grades or a classroom and they’ll happily take the quiz. Examples of such titles include:
How Well Do You Know X?
Do You Actually Know X?
Do You Really Know How X Affects Y?
How Much Do You Know About X?
Myths and Facts About X
The Truth About X
The list goes on. Here are some examples from WebMD’s collection of Diabetes Quizzes.
Personality quiz title
You know the one, and chances are, you’ve taken a personality quiz before. Here’s an example from Buzzfeed.
Taking the quiz will tell you which state you belong in.
Take this quiz to discover what type of digital marketer you are.
Those titles arouse curiosity, and even though people may not finish your quiz – remember I mentioned earlier that quizzes have an 81% completion rate – they’ll click through to start it. Some templates include:
Perform Y and I’ll Tell You What Type of X You Are
Do You Know What Type of X You Are?
Design an X and We’ll Tell You What Type of Y You Are
What Type of X Are You?
Did you see what I did there with the subheads about creating quiz titles? You may scroll up again but I italicized some words. They’re basically the two types of quizzes we have.
Sites like Buzzfeed or WebMD have a wide variety of quizzes, so you can get some inspiration from their quizzes section for help with choosing your quiz title. Additionally, check where most of their traffic comes from especially if they’re in your niche, as this will enhance your quiz distribution efforts later. Always remember that 80% of readers read just the headline to decide whether your content is something worth devouring or not.
2. Ask the right questions
For quizzes, the questions and their possible answers or options are the main content and they should live up to the promise of the headline. Otherwise, your quiz completion rate will drop. Sometimes I find myself starting a quiz and stopping before I get to the end because the questions are too difficult or take too long to answer.
Make the questions short enough to understand, but just long enough so that a participant doesn’t need to reread several times to decipher how to answer.
Inject your site’s tone of voice in the questions. It helps to prep the audience for what to expect in future content from your brand.
Depending on the type of quiz, i.e specifically knowledge quizzes, prepare answers so participants can see their performance and/or the right answer as they progress. It can help to keep them motivated to complete the quiz. Here’s an example from this brain quiz on WebMD.
Avoid wordiness whenever possible. It’s respectful of participants’ time. There are plenty of ways this question and the options can be rephrased, but this is just short and sweet.
Include images at your discretion. Visuals are great but don’t let them distract participants from the quiz.
Remember, your quiz should have 6 to 11 questions that will take 2-4 minutes at most to answer. In fact, depending on your audience, 4 minutes might be overkill and 2-3 minutes is a sweet spot. You’ll gain more insight when you perform a/b testing.
3. Offer relevant incentives
Sure, the promise of knowledge or discovery in your headline might be enough to lure people to take your quiz – this is another reason why the right topic and headline will do wonders for you. However, it’s often not enough, and you’ll need to add additional incentives to encourage your audience to take the quiz.
Incentives you can use include an ebook, a free report, or a giveaway. On Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich, a quiz welcomes you when you get to his homepage.
Notice that he offers a free custom report to people who take and complete the quiz. “Custom” is perfect because at the end of the quiz, the report is generated based on your answers. That means, whatever your earning potential, there’s a free report for you.
Knowing how much Ramit tests and discards what’s not working for him ruthlessly, I believe that the presence of that quiz on his homepage is a testament to the fact that it works.
As marketers, quizzes are a good way to grow your email list. Sometimes people offer incentives like iPads or iPhones for their quizzes even though it’s completely unrelated to their business.
Offer the appropriate incentive to ensure that the people who sign up to your list are not there solely for a chance to win an iPad but because they’ll love to hear from you again in future.
4. Nurture participants
At the end of the quiz, you can provide sharing options for people to share their results or the quiz on social media. WebMD does this perfectly – you can share the quiz and/or your quiz result on social media.
Not a bad score, but I should do better next time
At the end of Ramit’s quiz, there’s a form where you sign up to receive your custom report and he tells you upfront that you’ll receive a few emails from him each week.
IWTYTBR lead capture form as it appears on mobile
Be honest with participants and let them know that you’ll send other emails their way after you’ve sent them the incentive they signed up for when they took their quiz. Don’t skimp on this, as it can also save you from legal and financial troubles in the future in light of Europe’s new GDPR laws.
Thank them for taking your quiz. It’s best if you send them an email to confirm their subscription first before you send the thank you email. It will remind them that they opted in to, and they’re willing to receive an email from you. It also sets the tone for subsequent emails.
Send case studies and testimonials of people who were like them to show how your product or service helped them.
Convert them into paying customers. Use an email copywriter or your email copywriting expertise to sell your products and services.
Enhance your marketing efforts
Quizzes will not fix all your marketing problems. But if you want to gain more leads, integrate quizzes into your content strategy. Be ready to nurture them and lead them down the sales funnel.
Or you can create them for fun like WebMD does. That will increase engagement with your audience. Either way, quizzes are beneficial beyond self-serving purposes. Use them.
Guest author: Vikas Agrawal is a start-up Investor & co-founder of the Infographic design agency Infobrandz that offers creative and premium visual content solutions to medium to large companies. Content created by Infobrandz are loved, shared & can be found all over the internet on high authority platforms like HuffingtonPost, Businessinsider, Forbes , Tech.co & EliteDaily.
Content marketers will have to deal with more content because content will continue to be the heart and soul of marketing.
There is no way around that.
If you are wondering why it’s probably because content marketing is estimated to become a $300 billion industry by 2019. And at this pace, in next four years, it will be triple of what it is now. This prediction comes riding high on the fact that Google’s indexed pages have crossed 30 trillion in the last seven years.
Since content is the present and the future, it is only evident that B2B marketers are spending 39% of their marketing budget in developing customer-centric content. That’s right. Not just any content, but content that customers want.
Content marketers have become smart in their approach. They are more focused on creating content that aligns with their potential leads and existing customers. Everything seems to fall into place except the fact that 27% of marketers suggest that their content marketing efforts fail due to a budget crisis.
A content marketing budget can be a tricky thing for marketers. Often, it becomes difficult to show immediate results because content takes time to show up as a revenue booster. It is not a short-term marketing activity where you post a blog and voila! You have leads. Nope.
It takes a lot of patience and proper budgeting to get things rolling for your brand. But first things first.
Why spend on Content Marketing?
There is no alternative to content. Neither a replacement. Content happens to be the most functional form of modern advertising. It incurs a lesser cost as compared to traditional advertising but creates a better emotional impact on its readers.
Content triggers emotions in your readers. And emotions contribute to sales. Add to this; the modern day content bots are taking the world by storm already.
Here’s the thing: You can lower your content marketing budget effectively and still succeed with your content efforts. How? Below are 9 tried and tested methods that proved beneficial for my company.
#1. Go for quality over quantity
Your content will educate and nurture your leads and customers. So a poorly written piece of content will only cause damage. Well-researched content can help your leads and customers gain value, become more aware of the current problem statement, and keep them hooked on your brand for more.
Your content quality is of prime importance here. While it is necessary to publish content frequently, it is also not at the cost of compromising with the content quality.
Make room in your content budget for quality writing. Give your content the necessary time to research and put together information that will benefit your audience, will add value to your brand and urge your readers to share to their networks.
#2. Identify your buyers before you start creating content
Your content has a purpose. If you are not clear about your target audience, you cannot create content that will benefit them. The starting point has to be: Identify your buyer persona and customer lifecycle.
Based on your buyer’s persona, your content material, topics, and marketing channels will alter.
The sole purpose of your content is to educate, nurture and propel your leads and customers to the next stage of their buying cycle. If your content is not doing that, then it is a waste of time and resources.
However, if you are writing about anything else that is not even remotely related to social media marketing, you are instantly driving away your potential readers (and leads).
Key takeaway: Know your audience before you write for them.
#3. You are better off without low-authority publishers
Cross-publishing is a great way to cut down your content marketing budget and make your content count. When you contribute to another platform, you get the scope to connect to a wider audience. It gives your content more exposure, as revealed by Sharon Hurley Hall from BasicBlogTips. Sharon contributed to other platforms apart from BasicBlogTips and saw a 9% increase in traffic.
However, we all know how much time and effort goes into writing a single content piece. Also, many platforms charge fees to accept your contribution. In light of these two factors, opting for platforms that have low authority can potentially rupture your content marketing budget.
Publishing your content on platforms that have lesser follower-base than yours or do not write quality content, will only exhaust your resources.
If you want to contribute, get connected with publishing platforms that have a steady follower base. Pick publishers who publish articles that are similar to your domain. For instance, if you are writing on marketing automation, lead generation, social media marketing and trying to nudge a financial platform to publish your article, you will face rejections. Even if they agree (which would be very unlikely), your efforts will still be wasted. Their audience and yours are different. So any leads coming from that platform are a wasted lead because clearly, they are not a part of your ideal buyer persona.
#4. Focus on organic leads
Content marketing channels are evolving every minute. The distribution of your budget across various spending areas like content creation, pay-per-click ads, social media, and video content are changing. Hence, create a budget that allows space for all these changes while focusing on bringing in maximum organic leads.
Paid advertisements are great. Running only paid ads on social media platforms and search engines may give you more views and clicks. But in the long-run, investing in paid ads without tracking and monitoring will exhaust your content budget with zero results.
Content marketing, when done right, can trigger a steady influx of organic leads. Organic leads are your most qualified leads because they come to read your content on their own accord. You make your content found on search engines for your target audience.
If you are wondering how to do this, you can learn from the world’s leading marketers. Recently Forbes put together the success formula of top 6 prominent marketers to make content marketing work and how to generate organic leads.
These marketers tell you the strategies that worked rather than repeating what everyone is saying. For instance, Benji Hyam, co-founder of Grow and Convert, and Wordable.io asks to take a break from the stereotyped advice of creating ebooks, whitepapers, downloadable assets to convert your traffic. He instead focuses on including an effective call-to-action in your marketing channel. Benji believes in keeping the communication going.
#5. Study Google Analytics to know where you are spending unnecessarily
Your content marketing strategy includes multiple platforms for marketing. You create paid ads, invest in SEO, buy templates for landing pages, invest in content marketing tools, and also some tracking and monitoring tools. Awesome.
Now go back to the starting point. Which of these investments genuinely gives you a return? It is not possible that all have equal ROIs.
Use Google Analytics to figure out the most effective channels that drive maximum leads to your website or blog. Cut down your expenses on other platforms that give lesser or zero ROI. Instead of spending on several content marketing tools, first, know what metrics you want to track.
Google Analytics is pretty robust regarding tracking and monitoring. Unless you want something super extra, stick to Google Analytics. That way your budget remains under control.
Before including every other channel in your content marketing strategy, read various blogs to know the recent content marketing rules and trends. Understand where and how your business fits within these trends. And then, go about fixing your content marketing budget.
Writing content is not enough. You need to promote your content as much as possible so that it reaches a larger audience set. Sharing on social media platforms is one way. Another way is picking the right promotion platform. Social platforms are free and work well in triggering hype. It initiates discussion and sharing, which is great for your content.
You can schedule social media updates for free with relevant hashtags. Hashtags are a good way to increase the reach for your content.
When it comes to content promotion tools, try opting for a tool that is budget friendly and does the job. One such tool is Quuu which is a great platform to promote your content. For each successful publication on Quuu, you get credits that you can use for your next publication.
PS: Since we are talking about cheap tools, I will also quickly mention various designs that you need for your content. You can opt for tools like Canva and Pablo by Buffer to mention a few. These tools have great templates for free to make your design fast and also look good.
#7. Create reusable content
Create content that you can reuse for a more extended period. Republish old blogs, convert them into infographics or videos. You can do the reverse too.
Repurposing your content brings down your content budget effectively because it is a one-time spend and then it is being reused.
This doesn’t rule out the ‘unique content’ factor. Every piece of content of yours has to be unique and relevant to your buyer’s persona, buying stages, demographics, and events. But you should always have general marketing assets that you can reuse in various ways from time to time.
#8. Encourage community promotions of your content
Community promotions encourage more and more clicks and shares. You get to connect with a vibrant community discussing a common topic in one place. These communities are also a good place to look for content.
A few good communities include:
Individual brand communities
If you are actively participating in these discussions, you will get ample scope to put forward your point as well as share relevant content to propel the discussion. Ask for feedback on your content, conduct surveys to know recent trends, ask for influencer quotes and make them re-share your content, and keep educating interested people. Read for yourself how Grow and Convert grew their traffic from zero to 32,977 users in 5 months via community promotion only.
Many of these communities are closed groups, monitored by an admin or a group of admins. This means there will only be people who are genuinely interested in knowing and talking about some specific domains or topics. Unnecessary clutter is already kicked out for you.
#9. Make room for adjustments
You have created the most optimum content budget. You have listed down each tool you will be using. You have also put down the total time you will require, which kind of promotional campaigns you will do, which kind of content you will create, and how you will monitor your performance.
But wait. This is not set in stone. Your content marketing budget will alter when you start implementing your plan real-time. It will (or should I say) grow as your brand starts getting more leads and customers.
Hence, the final takeaway is: Create a minimalistic content budget but also keep room for adjustments like a new target audience, additional lead segments, and new content requirements.
When you keep adjusting your content budget according to immediate demands, you have a better chance at staying consistent with your content efforts amidst the changing trends. Your content strategy continues to be relevant and generates better ROI.
Content marketing is here to stay
It isn’t surprising that most companies of all sizes are focusing on creating functional content; content that is actionable and keeps flexibility within the content budget. This strategy works in favor of content marketers who plan to build a robust content future.
The power of content is already evident. It will not stop here. After all, content is the way of 2018 and beyond.
Guest author: Ankit Prakash is a technology entrepreneur at Aritic – Full Stack Marketing Automation software platform for digital business at Aritic with Sales CRM, Transactional Mail, and Desk. Ankit also spends a majority of his time reviewing various marketing tools and platforms on his marketing blog- Sprout24. Follow Ankit on Twitter at @ankitpr89
Email seems like a left-over and forgotten communication tool in the era of Instagram and Facebook. But, email marketing is probably the best way to reach out to your customers. In fact, more than 80% of small and medium-sized retailers in the US believe it drives the best customer acquisition and retention. It also commands an excellent return on investment with marketers making $40 for every $1 they spend on the email marketing.
Although it’s highly effective, most marketers fail to realize the full potential of email marketing. Sending email newsletters for the sake of sending them is unlikely to convert your prospects into buyers. If anything, it may make them feel downright irritated. Plus, you’re competing with 100 others in their inbox. That’s why you need to make sure your newsletter is the best.
The following four tips will help improve your newsletters by a mile.
1. Figure out the need
The first thing that should come to your mind is… Why are you writing this newsletter? If you don’t know the answer to this question, how can your newsletter make an impact on the readers? So go figure out who your target audience is, and what action you would want them to take after reading the newsletter.
Some common objectives could be:
Generate new leads
Get prospects to download free material such as an e-book or whitepaper
Promote a new product, seasonal sale, or latest offerings
Offer a solution to a particular issue in your niche
Here’s a familiar example. A lot of us in the digital media industry use Trello for task management. In essence, Trello helps boost productivity and makes time management simpler. Recently, their newsletter covered the topic “Productive morning routine” which falls right into their niche, and a problem most users are probably struggling with. The newsletter provides links to curated articles that provide in-depth information about the topic. It boasts a well-crafted message with a clear-cut call to action (CTA) at the end.
Just like this, you also need to focus on the needs of your users. Make your goal clear in the headline itself (in this case, it is to tell people how to have productive mornings). Don’t get into too many details right away. Just provide one or two types of information (here, there are resources for further reading) and a well-defined CTA.
2. Get creative
With a short attention span and an inbox overflowing with newsletters, you might be forgiven for thinking that the chances your newsletter will get the complete attention of a prospect are very slim. Well, here’s a pleasant surprise for you: the average time people spend reading emails has actually increased by more than one second!
That said, if your newsletter lacks creativity, it will probably end up in Trash, irrespective of how valuable the content is.
Fortunately, there are several ways to bring creativity into your newsletters.
Words can have a powerful impact. Use subject lines and headlines that resonate with your target audience. They should make an emotional promise or create a curiosity gap. You can use headline analyzers such as ShareThrough to determine the empathetic value of your headline or CTA.
Another way to improve your subject line or CTA is to create a sense of urgency or importance. Using words such as breaking news, urgent, hurry, and limited time offer can increase opening rates substantially. In the same vein, avoid using a lot of content because that will convey a sense of a lot of available time.
In this newsletter, Freelancer.com has used compelling words and graphics to capture the attention of the readers. The headline successfully builds curiosity, while there is a sense of urgency in the second subject line. The rest of the content is simple, straightforward, and to-the-point.
3. Unleash the power of visual content but don’t go overboard
Visuals such as images, animation, and graphics can make or break your newsletter. They can help showcase your brand in the best way possible. Here are some elements you should pay extra attention to:
Headers: You can use graphics-based headers to capture the attention of readers as soon as the email loads. DIY tools such as Stencil or Pixlr are a great place to start. Make sure you use the same fonts and logo layouts everywhere including your website, social media, and email newsletters.
Layout: Structure the layout so that users can see the most significant information first. Keep in mind the visual hierarchy of your content. Usually, it is prioritized from top to bottom. Keep your CTA or core message on the top to keep the readers interested. Use alt text on every image or graphics to make sure people can view your message if the visuals fail to load. Don’t go overboard with the graphics, though. Make sure to leave plenty of white space as it improves readability.
Gamification via animation: You can also include a creative CTA through gamification or virtual scratch cards or using animations. Maybe you can add a virtual scratch card, discount coupon, or use an interactive CTA to attract readers.
Here’s an example:
4. Make it for your users, not for your company
Your newsletter won’t be able to draw and sustain a consistent and engaged readership if it keeps going on and on about your brand. You need to share relevant information that your audience can use. The newsletter is about them, not about you.
Include Third Party Content: Incorporating third-party content from your partners, industry experts, and influencers can be a great way to align your newsletter with your target audience. You can also cross-promote your newsletter with vendors, friendly local brands, or other businesses that cater to the same target audience.
Include User Generated Content: Another way to add value to your newsletter is to include user-generated content. It involves sharing content created by your consumers, fans, and even your employees. You can use some real-life examples or client stories or answer a few queries about your product or service through user-generated content. It will add a personal touch to your newsletter, which in turn, will attract more readers.
Share Trending Topics: Lastly, you can use the newsletter as a platform to share trending news in your niche. People like it if their favorite brand keeps them in the know about the latest happenings that interest them. However, don’t confuse being consistent with providing slam-dunk content. Always try to provide something your users can’t find anywhere else.
This newsletter from Austin Kleon is one of the best examples of how to use third-party content to make your newsletter more educational and less promotional. He uses content curated from all over the web and maintains an overall informal tone as if talking to people in real time.
Over to you
Having a high-performing newsletter can work wonders for your overall digital marketing. With these four strategies, you will be able to improve your newsletter quality substantially. Over time, you will enjoy a broader and more dedicated readership in your niche. Hopefully, the examples shared here will inspire you to come up with something unique and original!
Guest author: Jaydip Parikh is the founder of Tej SolPro – a leading SEO agency which provides white hat SEO services to clients across the globe. Jaydip has more than 15 years of experience in the field of sales and digital marketing. He has taken lectures on various topics of digital marketing at numerous renowned institutes. He regularly speaks at various conferences and events, both online and offline. He is known as Jaydip Baba in the digital marketing industry.